It has been a long time coming, but as I've transitioned from the uncertainty of my 20's to life as a 30-something, I've had many realizations about life, priorities, and inevitably myself. The best way for me to give you an honest impression of who I am would be to first tell you that I am continuing to learn more about myself every day. Being open to learning, whether it be learning how to deal with the roller coaster that is life, or how to reupholster a vintage ottoman, is a huge part of who I am.
My current journey involves, among other things- how to be a mom. I have a 4-year-old daughter, Violet and a one year old, Ruby. They keep me on my toes and fill my heart with so much joy, but every so often I look at my life and wonder how did I get here? Don't get me wrong, here is pretty amazing, even if I do have moments of, "I want more" or "Is this it?" But when I think of how I viewed parents when I was growing up, it was like "Mom" and "Dad" was the definition of who they were. Their lives existed to be that person, they didn't have personal needs or interests, hobbies or insecurities. Now I am that person and I have learned that I am more than a "Mom" and I really don't want that word to define me, but not because I don't love the role. I think the best parents are the ones that are able to embody the definition of it for their kids, but can still live a life as so much more than that. I can still say that my girls are the center of my world.
Sometimes it's ok to want more, but I'm still learning how to find a balance between that and appreciating the abundance of what I already have. Making connections with people traveling the same path has already been a great way to start! When reading my blog you will find a lot of posts that revolve around learning and all that it encompasses, exploring the idea that we are constantly changing and evolving with the world around us.
I feel extremely lucky to have always felt truly and thoroughly loved, especially as a child. I spent my childhood and much of my early adulthood living a life of sunshine and rainbows, seeing things through rose colored lenses. My family consisted of myself-the middle child, my younger sister Kelly and older brother Justin, along with my parents were often called "The Brady Bunch". I'm assuming the comparison was founded by our constant appearance of contentedness and cheerful dispositions rather than the make or size of our family. No family is perfect, but my parents did a damn good job of making our lives seem magical and blessed. Now that I'm grown with a family of my own, I know the stress of running a household, paying bills, and making ends meet especially in this economy and in New Jersey. My greatest wish is that I am able to do the same for my daughters. I have some pretty big shoes to fill.
Luckily I have this handsome man to share the journey with...
A conversation with my husband:
Me: So babe, what would you like my readers to know about you?
John: About me?
John: I don't know. That I look like Ryan Gosling?
Me: Ummm...there will be a picture of you. Seriously...
John: I don't know. That's for you to figure out, babe.
So, on that note- here are a few fun facts to help you get to know a bit about my John:
- He loves Mountain Dew. I told him the other day that apparently it is flame retardant, and he now thinks if we're ever (god forbid) in a fire, he will be our own personal super hero.
- He's a funny guy. He thinks his humor is lost on me after 9 years together, but here I will publicly tell him: babe, you crack me up.
- He is a guys guy, not the wear your heart on your sleeve type, but he would literally (and has) give the shirt off his back to someone he cares about.
- His hair has threatened to take him over in a Cousin It fashion. He has crazy eyebrows, and few unruly nose hairs and get's a bit lazy about cutting his hair and shaving. I'm afraid one day they're going to connect over night and swallow him right up.
- He is a sports fanatic. Any sport, all sports, Nascar, horse racing, you name it.
- He was in the Navy and the Army.
- He claims to be allergic to nuts, but he can eat peanut butter...
- He loves horror movies (I do not) and has this silly habit of opening DVDs as soon as we buy them (like literally in the car sometimes before we even get home) to see what the DVD looks like. I find it adorable and so strange.
- He ALWAYS wears a hat. Seriously. If I would have let him walk down the aisle in one, he would have. It comes off before he hops into bed, and goes on before he walks out the door.
Here's a collection to prove my point:
All of those pics are Violet, so it's clear to see- seasons change, years come and go, but John's hat remains the same. We have been together for 9 years now, married for 6 of them and sometimes find that we share a brain, despite how very different we are. He is lucky enough to live in a house full of women, right down to our two cats Hickory and Paisley, but he loves it.
Custom Pop Art Portraits, handmade and a previous Etsy venture.
I honestly think art is in my blood. I don't remember a time when I wasn't thrilled by a brand new coloring book and box of Crayons (you should see me cringe to watch my 3-year-old rip off the paper and break them in half.) Also, both my Grandfathers were artists. I remember my Grandpa endlessly working in the stained glass studio he had in his basement and watching in awe while my Poppy quickly sketched an exact copy of anything you asked him to. Sadly neither one of them lived long enough to see where my art has taken me today, buy I am grateful for all they have inspired to get me here. I'm kind of a jack of all trades myself. I go through "creative moods" a lot where I completely devote myself to a specific type of fine art or craft, and then just like that I'm over it and on to something new. This is why I always refer to myself as the queen of unfinished projects. It's also why I have never really been able to sell much of my artwork because as soon as I get lots of orders for things, I'm on to something new. One of my dreams will always be to show my work in a gallery, but until I have the time to put together a body of work I feel proud of, that will have to wait. I know I'll get there some day, but for know it's enough to know that I am capable of creating and wherever my current whims take me, I will enjoy every second of the process.
I started teaching in 2005. When I graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts, I had a feeling I would eventually find my way to a teaching certification, but to be honest, I didn't really think it through. For some reason, teaching always felt like it was the easy option. Don't misunderstand, there is nothing easy about teaching and if you think otherwise, you and I are bound to have a long, heated debate on the subject. What I mean is, when you're little and you think about what you want to be when you grow up there are those typical careers that play out in the fantasies of children: teacher, doctor, fireman, policeman, actor, singer, maybe even lawyer. They're the ones you can act out when you play pretend, so they become the default answer. I played "school" all the time as a little girl so becoming a teacher felt...I don't know, silly? Like I wasn't thinking it through. It was a fall back, because really, what was I going to do with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and sculpture?
Anyway, out of college I found myself looking for a job along with the rest of the graduation class of 2004, and I landed in a local elementary school running the after school program. It was a position that put to use many years as a camp counselor and director, and something I was good at. While there I got the know the art teacher who was newly pregnant and going to be out on maternity leave the following year. My rapport with her and the administration in the school made it an easy transition for me, and I took the steps need to become certified in art ed. while teaching grades 2-5. As maternity positions are temporary, after an extremely challenging year of learning and growth, I found myself interviewing for my second and current position in a small, central Jersey town not far from Rutgers University. The job was for a part-time middle school art teacher. I wanted full-time, but I just had a feeling about this place. I knew the fit was right, so I took it. Let me tell you, middle schoolers are tough. My first year was full of tears and uncertainty. I constantly doubted myself and felt like I had no idea what I was doing, but I was determined and it kept me going along with the support of my colleagues and administration. My job load increased each year, and soon I was full-time. I have been there 9 years now and despite the current issues surrounding the teaching profession, as a whole, I LOVE my job and feel terribly lucky to do so. I put my heart in to every single thing I teach my students. I genuinely enjoy being around them every single day, and feel extremely blessed to work in a town that embraces the arts and supports it's educators. Out of 180 schools days, I drive home with a smile on my face 170 of them.
SO- that's me for starters, but if you want to know more you'll just have to keep reading!
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